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Local schools honor veterans

On Monday, Nov. 11, our country will be celebrating Veterans Day. This is a special day in our local schools. During my years as a teacher and administrator, I was witness to many heartwarming programs and activities organized by our teachers and students to honor our local veterans. I thought it would be nice to share what our local schools do to honor our veterans.

Some of our local schools have JROTC programs that include students from multiple schools. In one school, the JROTC starts planning the Veterans Day program six weeks prior the actual day. A lot goes into making the day special. The JROTC at one school seeks out pictures of family members of the school community that served or are still serving in any branch of the Armed Forces. They then make a PowerPoint presentation with the photos and let it run during the ceremony. This year they have over 100 slides. During the ceremony, JROTC cadets will either perform a Flag Folding Ceremony or a Rifle Drill presentation.

At another schools, the student council plans a program that is open to the community. Many of the local members of the VFW and Auxiliary participate. The students invite a guest speaker. The music teacher works with the elementary students to prepare musical selections for the program. The students usually feature their own writings from local VFW programs such as Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy essays. Elementary students prepare artwork and cards for the veterans. The middle school students create a wall mural as a way of thanking the veterans and acknowledging their service to all of us. The program always closes with the playing of Taps by a band student. After the program, the middle school students serve refreshments to the veterans. It is a special time for students to express their appreciation for the veterans’ service.

At yet another school all of the students in grades K-12 attend the program and local community members are invited. All local veterans are invited to participate by phone call and written invitation to the various veterans’ groups in the area. The veterans attend dressed in uniform identifying the branch of the military in which they served. The local Color Guard leads a procession into the gym. There is always a teaching component as part of the program. Some examples include demonstrations and discussion of proper flag folding, the symbolism of the table set for a soldier who is did not return from war, or information on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Several school staff members who are veterans also participate in the program and are introduced. The program always has a local person with military experience as the keynote speaker who addresses the audience and also includes a moment of silence.

These are just a few examples of what our local schools do to honor veterans on Veterans Day. What is most special is the way schools have their students participate, from high school down to Kindergarten. We, the local schools, are very appreciative of the sacrifice our veterans have given to our country and our community. We honor that sacrifice by making Veterans Day a special day in our schools and use that day not only to honor our veterans, but also teach our students how important the day is. On behalf of the Copper Country ISD and all our local schools, thank you veterans for all that you have done and for the example you continue to set for our students.

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